Ontario new COVID-19 cases jump to over 9,500 as province asks people to ‘celebrate safely’ for the holidays

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Published December 24, 2021 at 11:13 am

Ontario Premier Doug Ford tours a new mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the International Centre in Mississauga on Dec. 24, 2021.

The number of new COVID-19 cases reported in Ontario jumped to over 9,500 on Christmas Eve, shattering a single day case count record set just one day earlier.

Ontario reported 9,571 new infections and six deaths on Friday (Dec. 24), making for the highest number of new cases in one day since the start of the pandemic.

The Ministry of Health says the province’s intensive care units continue to remain stable, but it’s expected the number of admissions will rise in the coming weeks as the Omicron variant spreads, particularly among the unvaccinated.

“Vaccines remain the best protection against Omicron, and Ontario continues to urgently ramp up its capacity to administer COVID-19 vaccines, with over 253,000 doses administered Wednesday,” a ministry spokesperson told insauga.com on Friday.

The province urged Ontarians to “celebrate safely” and get vaccinated during the holiday season.

The new seven-day rolling average of cases now sits at 4,923 with a positivity rate over 18 per cent, up from approximately 7 per cent earlier this week.

Last week, the province’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table said the province was on track to record 10,000 cases a day by January.

Many Ontarians have been unable to book third dose COVID-19 vaccine appointments until at least February, and the province said it administered over 253,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses on Wednesday alone.

Premier Doug Ford toured a new mass vaccination clinic at the International Centre in Mississauga on Friday, which will be able to administer approximately 19,000 vaccinations per day.

The new clinic is part of a push by the province to ramp up Ontario’s delivery of vaccines.

The Ministry of Health said 1,536 of Friday’s cases were in unvaccinated people. Another 356 involved partially vaccinated individuals, and 7,425 involved fully vaccinated people while 254 involved people with unknown vaccination status, according to CP24.

The virus’ reported spread of infection among fully vaccinated people is due to waning immunity and the Omicron variant, which became the dominant strain of COVID-19 in Ontario earlier this week.

With holiday celebration beginning for many Ontarians tonight, the province put new COVID-19 safety measures in place last week including to try and blunt the rise in new COVID-19 infections.

Capacity limits for all indoor public settings are being reduced to 50 per cent, except for religious settings.

Bars and restaurants will have hours of operation reduced to 11:00 p.m., except for take-out and delivery. Alcohol service will be restricted after 10:00 p.m.

Social gathering will be capped at 10 people indoors, and 25 people outdoors.

No food or drinks will be served at sporting events, concert venues, theaters or cinemas, bingo halls and other gaming establishments.

The latest preliminary findings from the U.K. Health Security Agency add to emerging evidence that Omicron produces significantly milder illness than other variants, such as Delta, though it spreads much faster and better evades vaccines.

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